Sometimes, it seems like everybody goes hiking and camping in the great outdoors in the sticky, sweltering summertime. Those are the days when the bugs are at their worst, and the heat alone can leave you panting on the side of the trail before an hour is done. For an easier time of it, grab your gear in the spring or fall. Cooler days and mostly bug-free trails make for great hiking adventures, whether by the ocean or in the mountains. November 17 is Take a Hike Day, but any day is a good day to hike.
Rolling down the highways, watching the usually dull scenery go by, you might never guess that there are interesting places to explore not that far from the interstate. For some people, being a hiker means doing the Appalachian Trail, preferably all the way through. But there are a lot of other trails, many just as scenic, within an hour or two or a day’s drive of our area.
On June 10, 2017, 10th Annual GO Day, or National Get Outdoors Day, will be celebrated around the nation within national parks, large cities, and small towns. Hiking is a popular activity many share during GO Day. In the book Families on Foot: Urban Hikes to Backyard Treks and National Park Adventures, experienced hikers Jennifer and Brew Davis inspire families of all shapes and sizes to get outdoors and start adventuring.
What are you doing reading this article? Go take a hike! No, seriously. Take a Hike Day is on November 17, so you should go take a hike. Not only is Virginia filled with a variety of trails for all levels of hikers and all interests, but local trails are plentiful, too.
In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis set a record by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in 46 days. In her book, Called Again: A Story of Love, she shares what she learned there about the importance of planning, perseverance, teamwork, and faith, as well as the lessons that the rest of her life has taught her. Ms. Davis was named the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for her feat and has since gone on to found her own company, Blue Ridge Hiking.
Learn more about Ms. Davis when she talks about her insights at the Porter Branch on Wednesday, September 30, at 7:00. Refreshments will be served. Look for signed copies of her book, which will be available for purchase.
I’m a photographer. Since I carry some expensive equipment (AND I’m a woman), I’m leery about shooting by myself. But the best light is often around dawn and because Autumn has been so spectacular this year, I’ve seen more than my share of sunrises. One morning in particular, I decided to let my hardworking husband sleep in and I left to hike by myself along the Rappahannock River. Apparently no one else had the same idea. I found myself alone with the trees and birds for company. Or was I alone? The imagination is a powerful tool and, with every unexpected noise, I was certain I’d see a bad guy around the next corner. I forced myself to think of Cheryl Strayed and decided I’d just have to (wo)man up to enjoy my excursion. In Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed, a novice hiker, walks eleven hundred miles (!!!!) SOLO from California to Oregon on the above-mentioned trail. Did I mention she was by herself??
Camping, fishing, hiking, history, grand vistas, and horseback riding--there are so many possibilities in our national parks.
Due to the stupidity revealed in this story, our names have been changed to protect our identities. My husband, Ed, will henceforth be referred to as "Herb," and I will be "Sally." Herb and I are experienced hikers. We've read A Walk in the Woods.